Barnes & Noble adds maps, navigation services to Nook devices
Barnes & Noble is teaming with location services provider Skobbler to bring maps and navigation tools to its Android-based Nook Tablet and Nook e-reader devices.
Fast Company reports Barnes & Noble's Nook Apps storefront will offer a free version of Skobbler's ForeverMap 2 application as well as a $4.99 premium edition supporting offline use, enabling consumers to use their Nook as an in-vehicle navigation device complete with route guidance and Wi-Fi positioning. (All Nook products are Wi-Fi-enabled but none have offered wireless network connectivity since Barnes & Noble phased out the Nook 3G in early 2011.)
Looking ahead, Barnes & Noble also will enable third-party developers to build location-aware Nook apps and services leveraging data from OpenStreetMap, a Wikipedia-like open-source mapping project. Skobbler will make its GeOS API set available to Nook developers at a later date; GeOS is currently in private beta, but Skobbler co-founder Markus Thielking said an official release is scheduled for early 2013.
Barnes & Noble introduced the Android-based Nook Tablet late last year, touting a wealth of e-books, mobile applications and HD video content in its bid to rival Amazon's Kindle Fire as well as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) market-leading iPad. Priced at $249, which is $50 more than the Kindle Fire, the Nook Tablet boasts twice the RAM of its competitor and double the storage, offering consumers access to millions of books as well as more than 250 periodicals, many with interactive features.
Although the Nook Tablet has so far failed to mount a significant threat to the Kindle Fire, the addition of location services could help--at present, Kindle Fire owners wishing to obtain location data must download third-party applications from the Amazon Appstore for Android or access online mapping services via the tablet browser. However, Amazon reportedly acquired 3D mapping startup UpNext earlier this month, fueling speculation the digital retailer plans to upgrade the Kindle Fire to include native location-based services.
- read this Fast Company article
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